Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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8/8/2008
09:17 AM
David Berlind
David Berlind
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The Week The Cloud Went Down? First GMail, Then Citrix's GoToMeeting

The upside of being the 800-pound gorilla of cloud computing (Google) is that every time cloud computing gets good press, you get mentioned and you get a tad more traction and credit for being one of the "cloud computers." The downside is that when part of your cloud computer goes down like a part of Gmail and Google Apps did on Wednesday of this week (Aug. 6), everyone is quick to pile on. But Google wa

The upside of being the 800-pound gorilla of cloud computing (Google) is that every time cloud computing gets good press, you get mentioned and you get a tad more traction and credit for being one of the "cloud computers." The downside is that when part of your cloud computer goes down like a part of Gmail and Google Apps did on Wednesday of this week (Aug. 6), everyone is quick to pile on. But Google wasn't the only cloud provider with problems this week.Yesterday afternoon (Thursday, Aug. 7), two of Citrix's popular cloud-based services -- GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar -- experienced outages as well. I was on the road on Wednesday and so, even though I'm a Google Apps and Gmail user, I wasn't online to experience the problems that some other Google Apps and Gmail users experienced. But yesterday, I was trying to join a GoToMeeting-based demonstration of Cemaphore's extremely cool MailShadowG when I got the following "system down" message:

GoToMeeting Goes Down

I pinged Citrix for comment. Via e-mail, Citrix Online Division product marketing manager Kineon Walker had this to say:

This morning we experienced a surge in demand for our Web conferencing services that contributed to a partial GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar service disruption. During the disruption period no existing online meeting sessions were interrupted, but some of our customers had challenges starting and joining online meeting sessions. We regret any inconvenience that our customers experienced. Over the last four years, we have responded to the exponential growth and popularity of GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar services by increasing the capacity of Citrix Online's infrastructure from single to multiple data centers distributed worldwide. The addition of VoIP and Mac capability to GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar has contributed to record levels of product demand, and our ongoing efforts to expand our infrastructure are helping to accommodate these needs. The continued growth of our infrastructure footprint along with planned policy and configuration changes will help to reduce disruptions and improve the level of service for our current and future customers.

One question I asked that I didn't get an answer to is whether Citrix runs an online status report regarding the reliability of its data centers the way salesforce.com runs one at trust.salesforce.com. Moving forward, transparency of that sort is going to be key if the various cloud players want to convince the unconvinced that the cloud can deliver their IT just as well as their current in-sourced solutions.

Sidebar: Take a closer look at salesforce.com's status screen. You can literally watch as the demand on its infrastructure goes up over time. Insiders at salesforce tell me the number of API executions (where salesforce.com's infrastructure is being accessed by custom-developed applications and mashups) is starting to skyrocket.

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